Streaming From An iPad 2 To Your TV

by Damian on March 15, 2011 · 60 comments

in News

On Saturday I had to stop by Best Buy to pick up ink cartridges for my printer. I left with an iPad 2! I had been debating whether or not I would consider purchasing one a few days earlier but had convinced myself that I just didn’t need one.  When I stopped by Best Buy I had no intention of purchasing an iPad 2, but once I saw they had quite a few in stock (and I knew most other places sold out the day prior), I let the inner geek take control (and to be honest after purchasing I felt dirty!). There have already been a ton of writeups/reviews about the iPad 2 already so there is no need for more of the same. However, since most people who follow my writings know I focus heavily on streaming media to the TV, I thought instead I would take a look at one of the new features of the iPad 2, the ability to connect the iPad to a TV via HDMI. I decided to test out two different scenarios where I could see myself streaming from an iPad 2 to a TV. (1) Content stored directly on my iPad 2 and (2) Content streamed from the Netflix App.

Connecting The iPad 2 Via HDMI

To be able to connect the iPad 2 to a TV via HDMI requires the Apple Digital AV Adapter (In typical Apple fashion it is overpriced at $39.00). Simply connect the Adapter to the iPad. There is then a input on the adapter to connect the HDMI cable to with the other end of the HDMI cable going in to the TV or Receiver (in my case it went directly into my Onkyo Receiver)

Once the HDMI connection has been made you should now see a mirror image of the iPad iOS on your TV. Unfortunately it gets displayed at what appears to be 4:3

Test 1 – Playback Of Locally Stored Media

With the iPad 2 connected I navigated to my Video Library (all navigation is obviously done via the iPad 2). As you can see once again the Video Library on the iPad 2 is mirrored on the TV.

Now for the big test, would initiating playback on the iPad 2 mirror back to the TV. More importantly, would I be stuck watching playback in 4:3, which would be a deal breaker. Well, the good news is playback happened seamlessly on the TV, and the output automatically adjusted to fill the screen. Once playback begins the iPad 2 no longer mirrors the TV but instead goes black, just showing playback and volume controls. Picture quality looked very good considering the video files on the iPad 2 had been encoded down (using the Universal preset in Handbrake). I also confirmed that the same process worked streaming from my Windows Home Server via Air Video.

Test 2 – Playback Of Netflix

Next up was to see if playing back content from my Netflix account would work as seamless as with local content. Loading the Netflix app the red Netflix logo appears on the TV whilst on the iPad 2 you can navigate around your Netflix queue.

I had a Scooby Doo movie already sitting in my queue, so I decided to use that as my test. Sure enough, once playback was initiated Scooby Doo was streaming on my TV, and once again the iPad simply displays the volume/playback controls. Since the Netflix stream was standard definition it looked better on the iPad 2 then when it was blown up on my TV, but it was still watchable.

Conclusion:

The iPad 2 performed as expected, mirroring content directly from the iPad 2 to a connected TV via HDMI. Unfortunately since it is running iOS 4.3 I cannot jailbreak it yet, so I couldn’t confirm how well it would handle my 1080p content. I would have much preferred that either the HDMI input was built in to the iPad 2 or that the Adapter was included. Realistically I don’t see myself connecting my iPad 2 to my TV at home. However, with two young kids and some traveling I do for work I am always on the lookout for a good mobile jukebox, and with that the iPad 2 fit the bill. Whether or not you are an Apple fan (which I am not) the fact of the matter is at present there is no match for the iPad in the tablet arena. From what I have read/heard the Motorola Xoom has been a bust, and Honeycomb has been buggy/unstable. I was hoping to hold out longer to see what all the new tablets which are supposedly hitting the market this year bring to the table, but I think at present it is obvious that they will all just be playing catchup in the short term.

Random Musings:

Whenever I go to Best Buy I try to prepare myself for some of the “professional” speak I overhear from employees. Maybe I am a tech snob, but I have learned to just bite my tongue. As always happens though, I overheard a conversation while waiting in line to pay for the iPad that once again just had me shaking my head. An older female had purchased an iPad 2 the day prior. While using it at home that night she was having difficulties with the iPad 2 dropping her wireless signal. She came back to the store and explained her issue to the Best Buy Apple employee. He asked one question, what type of router did she have. She answered that she had a 2 year old Netgear router. From that answer he “knew” right away it was the router. He told her she needed to purchase an Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router. The “other” routers don’t last as long and the AirPort Extreme would solve her problem. I am not saying that her router wasn’t the issue, I just found it amusing that from one question the Employee was able to so easily troubleshoot a problem that can have many factors involved. I guess that is why I never got that Best Buy job I applied for :-)

Even better though was the shocked look I was given when I said I didn’t want to buy a case or the Best Buy protection program! To top it off when I was offered the Buy Back Program I once again said no thank you and mentioned I could easily get more from eBay or other. With that I was greeted by a snarky response from the Employee that “Maybe you will and maybe you won’t”. That was pretty amusing considering that (a) you need to pay $69.99 for the program which already cuts into how much you would effectively get back by a good 10% and (b) the Buy Back percentages used to calculate your return easily come in lower then what you find online. To do the math, if you had purchased the 32GB 3G model 8 months ago it would have cost you $729. Using Best Buy’s buyback calculator this would net you $291 (40%). Back out the fee to participate in the program and you are left with $221, a far cry from the $350 – $450 price being seen on eBay now.

OK, rant over :-)





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 60 comments }

John March 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

Ugh Worst Buy. Funny they just sent me some coupons for this weekend and in the fine print on the back in very tiny font it specifically says excludes Apple iPad. Bet they are going to have a fun weekend. I’m planning to go for an Apple TV myself.

Rhinoevans March 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm

The coupon restriction from BB is from APPLE!!!

Jim March 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

Every time I go into Best Buy, I reminded of this scene:

“Check it out, my man! This is the Dominator X-10. Thirty inches of thigh-slapping, blood-pumping, nuclear brain damage! ”

“Bitchin’! Hey, what’s it fs*king cost?”

“That’s the bitchin’ part about it! It don’t matter! If you can’t afford it, FS%KING FINANCE IT! So what if it’s as big as a Subaru and costs as much? You’ll never have to trade this in! This is gonna be with you for the rest of your life! And when you die, they can BURY you in it! ”

Which reminds me, is Ruthless People on BluRay yet…

Schatzman March 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

And That would be why BB is going bankrupt. Most people just use it as a local product showroom for their favorite online store.

Thanks for the Writeup Damian.

Alex Kuretz March 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Damian, does the iPad have to run off battery power or can it be charging while it’s displaying on the TV? I suspect it can only do one at a time since it’s using the same connector, no?

Damian March 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Although I didn’t test my guess it is could do both. The Adapter has both an HDMI input as well as the normal iPxx input, so you could connect both at the same time. I will definitely have to test this out, and will report back. Ideally in a case like this you can run off the A/C power and not battery

Nigel Wilks March 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

The adapter has both connectors and will charge at the same time as outputting. Handy really as the battery will drain pretty quick.

Damian March 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Thx for confirming

goondog March 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

thanks for the info Damian. I agree, BB is just a showroom full of bad advice.

Its good to have the iPad send info to the bigscreen but cant really see someone plugging their ipad itno their av rack all the time
. AppleTV2 can stream anything off the ipad via a few of apps i think. I can see using the ipad to stream some pics/home movies etc, but most people viewing this site probably have better solutions for full movies.
i have the streamtome app on my phone that works really well for all my rips. Ill have to play with the wireless streaming to the ATV2 once/if i ever stoop to that point.
thx again for the posts and have fun with your new toy!

Damian March 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Well, right now the iPad 2 is running a better processor then the ATV2. If I recall the ATV2 still struggles with high bitrate content, so this is something that you might be able to get around with the iPad 2′s processor. Of course I expect the next ATV will have the same processor.

I honestly can’t see hooking it up in my house, but as I mentioned when on the road it makes a great mobile jukebox (something you won’t get from the ATV2). Many of the hotels I stay at now have tvs that give you access to the HDMI input, definitely comes in handy, particularly when traveling with children.

Brajesh March 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

“…I let the inner geek take control (and to be honest after purchasing I felt dirty!).” Too funny, except I did the same last Friday morning via the Apple online store. Already sold my iPad 1 on eBay; iPad 2′s HDMI output, better CPU, slimmer design and new gadget envy got hold of me.

Re: streaming, as ZumoCast hasn’t been available for months, is Air Video my best option? Should I follow’s Jason’s write-up for MSS as is or is there a newer, better method?

Damian March 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Gotta learn to control the inner geek!!

Yeah, I pretty much canned ZumoCast a while back. Air Video still works well, and the writeup Jason put together is still valid.

Slates March 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Ok, hate to be that guy, but as a fellow techie, I can’t let it go:

“Whether or not you are an Apple fan (which I am not) the fact of the matter is at present there is no match for the iPad in the tablet arena. From what I have read/heard the Motorola Xoom has been a bust, and Gingerbread has been buggy/unstable.”

It’s honeycomb, not gingerbread! :)

And I own an iPad (original) and love it! No hating here.

Damian March 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

$hit, I thought I wrote Honeycomb. Just fixed, thanks for pointing out. My wife loves her original iPad as well

Rhinoevans March 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm

The new IOS 4.3 has home sharing. Activated it and was streaming videos from my WHS to the ipad. Streamed without a hitch. Music too.

Brajesh March 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Thanks, excellent! How do you enable and use it? Is there a WHS add-in needed?

Brajesh March 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm
Brajesh March 16, 2011 at 8:56 am

Looks like you need to stream via iTunes, so you’re out of luck trying to stream MKV and other non-Apple format. Back to Air Video for me.

Damian March 16, 2011 at 9:07 am

C’mon Brajesh, did you really think all of a sudden Apple would open up support for more formats, you should know better then that!!!

Brajesh March 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Yep, forgot I need to turn off my ‘common sense’ switch when it comes to Apple. They can be the most ingenious and most infuriating company simultaneously :).

Rhinoevans March 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

Yes, you have to run itunes on the server and it will only stream their format mpeg4, maybe others(avi, I dont know). Only GIRLS in my house have iPads, so I convert what little they watch of my MKV files to the ipad format.

Tried to get an ipad 2 and sold out everywhere I went. When I get one, for the wife offcourse, I will then get her 32 G /3G ipad. :)

Damian March 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

Yeah, its crazy. I know people who were waiting at the Apple Store at 8am this morning (it doesn’t open until 9am) and I think they ran out

jm March 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm

As a Xoom owner (posting from it now), I’d like to offer a counter point to the narrative on the device that’s been going around. I’ve found the early issues of lag or stability problems to be greatly overstated and since the 3.01 update they’ve been nonexistent.

For the technically inclined, the Xoom’s focus on multitasking and openness (unlockable bootloader, soon to be open-source, replaceable system components like input methods) , with an interface designed for tablets provides a compelling choice. To me iOS pales in comparison and isn’t a viable option.

Damian March 16, 2011 at 3:40 am

Fair enough, I don’t think that one tablet will be for everyone. With the Xoom my comment was more about getting mass acceptance which it is clearly not on the same level as the iPad at this momemt. The biggest issue (at least to me) with the Xoom is the price (in particular Verizon’s role). They grossly botched the pricing if they were truly looking to get mass acceptance at launch. Trust me, I am hopeful whether it be the Xoom, Asus EeePad, or other, if they mature and hit a little better price point I would be glad to go in that direction (I have been eying the Asus EeePad Transformer)

Mark March 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

For me this is a waste of money.

Chris March 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

Has anyone tried the iOS VLC player? Should it not be able to play mkv files either streaming or from the iPad it self?

Damian March 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

Yes, VLC should work. I also had confirmed that running XBMC on the iPad allows you to play back mkvs. I can’t confirm on the iPad 2 because it is not jailbroken yet

Cubanblood March 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

iOS VLC works fine but it was take off of iTunes so if you did not get it you SOL

Damian March 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm

You can still get VLC but through “other channels”, which means you need to have a jailbroken device to use. But then again if you want to use XBMC your device needs to be jailbroken as well

Rhinoevans March 16, 2011 at 10:21 am

Damian, just a point of question, the two things you tried is NOT streaming, right. You just played from the ipad connected to a TV. Nothing streamed?? YOu streamed netflix to the ipad, but through a wire played on a TV.

Damian March 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

I actually did test streaming (I tested using Air Video streaming content from my Windows Home Server to the iPad). I actually planned to include that in the writeup but it seemed kind of moot (i.e I already showed that whatever you could display on your iPad could be mirrored on your TV). Is this what you had in mind?

Kubla Khan March 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

I am buying an IPad 2 in the near future. My main use will be the opposite of those deicussed here: Streaming from a TV to the IPad via a slingbox and the house WiFi. Does anyone have experience with this?

Chris March 16, 2011 at 10:45 am

Damian, I still have not gotten my iPad, it will not be in my country until 25.mars. But I got the VLC app from here (http://www.zimbio.com/iPhone+Blogs/articles/GqI6RXEHXXG/VLC+Media+Player+IPA+iPhone+iPod+iPad+Download) and I put it in the iTunes app folder and now I can see it in iTunes waiting to be transfered to my iPad (at least I hope so ;-). If this works then jailbraking is not needed for this action at least.

Do you think this might work?

Damian March 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

I can give it a try, but from looking at that link it appears it is a cracked App (so probably won’t work syncing up). Some cracked apps I had on my jailbroken iPod wouldn’t sync up with my iPad 2. I will let you know when I get home from work if I have any success.

Mike McManus March 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Congrats on the iPad purchase! Just an FYI, “mirroring” can also be done with the first gen iPad on iOS 4.3 using the same HDMI adapter, though I do believe the resolution is limited to 720p on the original iPad. I haven’t tried it with mine yet (I stupidly ordered the adapter from Apple instead of buying at Best Buy – which had in stock – who knows when the dang thing will arrive from Apple?). With the lower power processor in the gen 1 iPad, it might not be as smooth as your experience with your shiny new toy. I swear, I think Apple laces their products with crack. As soon you touch and hold one, you want one! I didn’t want to (and still don’t plan to) upgrade, but after holding one in BB over the weekend, it was VERY hard to not order one and throw my gen1 up on ebay.

Damian March 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Hey Mike,

Unfortunately I cannot confirm on my iPad v1 as I cannot upgrade to iOS 4.3 until the jailbreak is released :-( I am in particular curious to see how the iPad 2 handles my BluRay mkvs which the iPad v1 chokes on

Rhinoevans March 19, 2011 at 7:28 am

Yep, I have 2 ipad’s first gen. Wife has a 32G/3G and daughter a 16G/Wifi. Just ordered an Ipad 2 64G/3G/Verizon 3 days ago through the Military AAFES. $10 cheaper and no tax. It is also for the wife so I will now be the owner of her old ipad. Very nice toy. I has totally replaced my wife’s laptop. Was able to stream from the WHS through itunes, and the video, for a HD rip was perfect. All my stuff is MKV, so I hav to convert a few files to Mpeg4 just to try. Worked better than expected. Music also no problem. Dont know if I have a need for the adapter to send video to a large screen, since all tv’s have media players.

Damian March 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Honestly if you already have Media players at your TVs I see no need for the adapter. I only got the adapter for two reasons (1) for this writeup :-) and (2) for when I travel for work or family related. Otherwise I have no intention/need/desire to use the adapter at home

goondog March 17, 2011 at 11:34 am

Damian,
what do you use your ipad1 mostly for?
i caved and just bought a refurb ipad1 (didnt think that price justified ipad2 right now) for the wife/kids to easily pics and vids.
How well does it run things from your WHS? Did you have to jailbreak it in your mind to increase its function for you purposes?
thx

Damian March 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

The iPad1 is my wife’s. She uses it a lot for reading (via the Kindle App), checking email, facebook, surfing the web, etc… It also has a lot of Apps on it that my young boys use (because of that we have a industrial strength Ottobox case with it).

As far as running things from WHS I have Air Video installed on my WHS which allows me to play back any video on the iPad. It transcodes though so it is CPU intensive and I found playback at times can be hit or miss. I also have Subsonic installed which lets me stream music to my iPad. You could also install iTunes on WHS and I believe use home sharing from iTunes to the iPad.

As far as jailbreaking, I guess it depends. One of the main reasons why I jailbroke my wife’s iPad and iPhone is because I wanted to tether her iPhone to her iPad when we are traveling and there isn’t a free Wi Fi signal to grab on to. I also wanted to test out XBMC on the iPad which requires jailbreaking. I would suggest just setting the iPad up as is and see how well it meets your/your families needs.

Brandon March 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Damian ,

Great article. I’ve been scouring the net and posting in forums, but haven’t found an answer to a question you can hopefully help me with:

I’m logged into my parent’s Comcast account through the Xfinity app for iPad since they have a better cable package than I do, allowing me to view “On-Demand” content from networks I otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

Would the iPad VGA adapter work to play the video on my home TV?

I’m concerned, because this would be about the only thing I’d need mirroring for and I don’t want to waste money on the hardware if it’s not going to work. Also, in this YouTube video, someone demonstrates that the VGA adapter will not work witht the ABC Player app (similar, I assume, to the Xfinity TV app):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgo3ueETDIk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

What do you think?

Damian March 28, 2011 at 6:36 am

Hi Brandon,

Honestly I have no idea. When I tested the HDMI adapter I saw no restrictions on what could be output to the TV. However, I don’t have Comcast so I have no way of testing. I would like to think you would have unrestricted access, but I have no way of confirming. Sorry I can’t give you a mode definite answer.

Cheers
Damian

John R April 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm

For the poster who wondered about SlingBox and iPad/iPad2

Works…..

Exceptionally well….the iPad App for the SlingBox is extremely well done.

At night—-I sit by my wife who hogs the remote control and the High Def TV….

No worries—-I just watch my playoff games on my iPad with earbuds.

She can watch whatever “girl” stuff she wants—I get plus points for sitting with her on the couch at night being “romantic” LOL

I have a second Cable DVR set up specifically for Slingbox.

downside—-SlingBox App is not cheap…… $30

And it is not a Universal App like most which will work on an iPhone and Ipad at the same time.

To put it on your iPhone—-it is another $30

John R April 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Another fabulous aspect of th iPad 2 is it’s integration with Apple TV2 and Air Play….

No cables needed and videos are instantly viewable….quality is quite good.

I am a baseball coach and i especially love how I can film a kid’s technique—and then blip it to a HD TV through Air Play.

Fast—-seamless and GOOD!

Tim Catron June 19, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I think you may have just convinced me to upgrade to the iPad 2. I’m just afraid the minute i but it the iPad 3 comes out.

Wanda July 30, 2011 at 11:16 am

I am an ‘older’ woman that went from owning five Various Macs to a Dell for six months and then an iPad 2. I like it well enough, but really need to learn how to do things to reach the full potential. It is too expensive for email and reading the news!

If I buy a movie and download it to my iPad can I stream it to my TV. All the jargon is confusing at times.

Enjoyed all the comments

Damian July 30, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Hi Wanda,

Yes, you can mirror anything that you can play on your iPad 2 on a tv. You can do this by either connecting the iPad 2 directly to the TV or via Airplay with an Apple TV connected to your TV

Anthony Verstegen July 31, 2011 at 1:46 am

I found that my wifi connection(video streaming/browsing) drops out when using the hdmi cable. As soon as I unplug it – the connectivity returns to my ipad2. I was searching the internet for similar issues when I came across a part in your original article.

Damian August 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I only used the iPad2 briefly to stream Netflix to my TV and when I did I had no connectivity issues. Is you wi fi connection fine when doing things aside from streaming with the hdmi cable (I have found the iPad2 wi fi to be flaky unless you have a strong signal)

Helen December 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

I have exactly the same problem. WiFi drops out when streaming via HDMI cable. The WiFi signal is as strong as possible, so no issue there. Disconnecting the cable and viewing on the ipad2 no problem. paid almost £50 in UK for the necessary cables. any suggestions?

Wanda August 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Please tell me what ‘jailbreak’ is. Thank you

Damian August 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

In easiest terms you open up your iOS device from the Apple imposed limitations. What this means is you can run apps, etc… that don’t flow through Apple (i.e. App store). All my iOS devices at home are jailbroken for various reasons. Of course there are caveats such as bricking your iOS device. Also, you will be unable to upgrade iOS when Apple updates, you will have to wait for a jailbreak to come out for that iOS update (so you could be waiting on the sidelines for a while before you could use some killer update Apple pushes through in an iOS update).

Generally I would say most iOS users are better off not jailbreaking.

Neroli August 9, 2011 at 5:50 am

I’ve just downloaded air video to play mkv files from my mac to the bedroom tv (via ipad). Thing is all the files are kept on a linux system so I have to FTP them to the mac in the first place.

Have you heard of any streaming apps that will go from Linux to the ipad? We have a dvd with thumbdrive in the bedroom but it won’t play mkv files :( hence the need to stream from the ipad2.

Thank you and awesome article.

amirali August 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm

ipad and ipad2 wery good

amirali August 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm

have you ipad2? it is good ?

Greg November 19, 2011 at 5:29 am

Hey Damian. I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with Netflix playing shows on my ipad, vers. 1, 3G. The content is always grainy and the shows I watch pause often. When I watch it over a tv screen the picture is even worse. Have you heard of this being a problem?

Ray January 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm

i get this issue where the video stops when connected to the tv. can u think of any other factors that might be causing this problem then it being to far from the router and the router having problems of slowign down? i have it connected to a sony 7.1 receiver to a hdtv. the ios 5.0.0 i think? mostly the video stops and then it just exist in full screen mode..

Simon September 26, 2012 at 6:56 am

Damian, which socket do you use on the Onkyo receiver, and what settings on the receiver do you use (eg, Cab, DVD etc). I’m struggling!

Damian September 26, 2012 at 6:57 am

I did this just connecting directly to my TV. It shouldn’t matter through what socket/settings you use on your AVR. Did it work connecting directly to your TV?

Simon September 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

It does not work connecting to the tv, so I tried to connect through the AVR. I also thought this might give a better surround sound experience. Neither worked. A problem I have identified is that I cannot find a TV out on my ipad2, and I can see the web is awash with comments about the problem. It is irritating because I just spent a lot of money on a genuine AV adaptor. Ho hum.

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